US, UK Carry Out Fresh Strikes On Houthi-Controlled Hodeidah Province In Yemen


By Saeed Al-Batati

The US and UK launched strikes on Houthi-controlled Hodeidah province in Yemen on Tuesday, as rights organizations and government officials accused the militia group of exploiting the Gaza conflict to recruit minors to their own cause.

The Houthis’ official news agency, Saba, said the attacks targeted military installations, missile and drone launchers, and ammo stores in At Tuhayta District in the west of the province.

The strikes came as US Central Command said on Tuesday that the Houthis launched two missiles at Bab Al-Mandab from areas under their control on Monday morning. The attacks hit the Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship and the Greek-owned MV Star Iris.

The Houthis said on Monday that the Star Iris, which was transporting corn from Brazil to Iran, was an American vessel and was targeted in revenge for the bombardment of Yemeni land by the US and UK.

Since November, the Houthis have seized a commercial ship and launched dozens of missiles and drones at vessels traveling through the Red Sea, Bab Al-Mandab and the Gulf of Aden, preventing Israel-linked ships from passing through commerce lanes off Yemen.

The group claims the strikes are intended to push Israel to break its siege of Gaza. This is the first time the Houthis have attacked a ship destined for Iran, the group’s primary patron.

According to a regional security source cited by Reuters, the Houthis told Iran before targeting the ship and said the attack was intended to convey a message that Iran has no control over the Houthis and that they are acting independently.

Meanwhile, international rights organizations and the government have accused the Houthis of using the war in Gaza and global outcry at the mass killing of Palestinians to recruit minors and send them to the battlefields of Yemen.

Niku Jafarnia, a Yemen and Bahrain researcher at Human Rights Watch said: “The Houthis are exploiting the Palestinian cause to recruit more children for their domestic fight in Yemen.

“The Houthis should be investing resources in providing the basic needs of children in their territories, like good education, food and water, rather than replacing their childhood with conflict.”

Yemeni activists told Human Rights Watch that hundreds, possibly thousands, of children had joined the Houthis since Oct. 7 after being convinced to fight Israelis in Palestine. But instead of sending them to Gaza, the Houthis sent them to fight Yemeni government troops.

“The Houthis make children believe that they will fight to liberate Palestine, but they end up sending them to (the front lines in) Marib and Taiz. Indeed, the Houthis’ Gaza is Marib,” an activist who manages a rights group said.

Yemen’s Minister of Information Moammar Al-Eryani has called for a list of Houthi leaders involved in the recruitment of children so they can be sanctioned.

The militia group had “mercilessly” dragged tens of thousands of children into the battlefields and used them as fuel for their war, he said.

“The Houthi militia has transformed schools under its control into war camps, and classrooms into halls to teach youngsters to disassemble and use light and medium weaponry, as well as indoctrinate them with hard-line sectarian ideologies and hostile slogans acquired from Iran,” Al-Eryani said on X.

Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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